Mark Steyn: Once you’re out of diapers it’s smooth sailing

Why low life-expectancy rates in the U.S.—due to high infant mortality—shouldn't lead to government-run health care

The fact that life expectancy is lower in the U.S. than in many industrialized countries is among the most often-repeated fallacies in defense of health care-reform, Mark Steyn writes in the Orange County Register. The real reason life expectancy is lower has nothing to do with the care Americans receive, but is rather the result of relatively high infant mortality rates. In fact, Steyn argues, “if you can make it out of diapers, you’ll live longer than you would pretty much anywhere else. By age 40, Americans’ life expectancy has caught up with Britons’. By 60, it equals Germany’s. At the age of 80, Americans have greater life expectancy than Swedes.” Though Steyn doesn’t go into detail about the high number of child deaths—his insights into pediatric care will apparently be featured in a future column—he unequivocally claims Americans’ treatment options once they’ve passed early childhood are “the best in the world.” And that should be reason enough, he concludes, to oppose any project that seeks to “[interject] a bureaucracy between you and your health.”

Orange County Register